Thursday, April 2, 2009

Black Dog Bootleg

For the next installment in the Gingerbread Report, I make some fairly mediocre cookies. In the comments from the opening post of the Gingerbread Report, my mother mentioned that her favorite ginger cookie is from The Black Dog on Martha's Vineyard. You know, the one with the ubiquitous t-shirts.

Not having been lucky enough to set foot on Martha's Vineyard in the last many years, I don't have a clear memory of what those cookies were like, (although I do have a vivid memory of sugar raised doughnuts on the ferry out), but I was able to locate a bootleg version of the recipe here, taken (I can't say how accurately) from The Black Dog: Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook.

This recipe, and other versions of it I was able to find, utilizes an interesting technique. Instead of using powdered ginger in the dry ingredients and butter as the fat, The Black Dog recipe blends fresh ginger with oil, steeps, and then uses the oil and discards the ginger. I chose not to discard the ginger, and added it also, along with a little extra powdered ginger for luck.

I halved this recipe and made huge cookies and still managed to make a lot, so keep that in mind if you decide to go for it.

Reasons I'm not sure you should go for it: Well, one reason, really. The recipe just didn't quite work. As written, it was too dry to even form into hard balls, and it was only after adding more egg and some more oil that I got the cookies on the left:
In a retrospectively unwise move, I decided to see what would happen if I added more egg and oil still, and a bit of milk. When it got too wet, I dried it out with tapioca starch. The first result was the cookie on the right, wetter, cakier. When things got really weird, I wound up with this:
The first batch, (the hard dry ones), were the best, but weren't all that exciting, so I won't post the recipe. A worthy experiment, but I wish I'd quartered the recipe.

If my mother or anyone else with a good memory and a fondness for the New England coast can describe The Black Dog version, I'd have a better sense of whether the recipe hit the mark.

No comments: